Planning a typical Italian meal: A family reflection on culture

Clotilde Pontecorvo*, Alessandra Fasulo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper addresses the issue of cultural descriptions as they are perceived and used within mundane conversation. We analyze a discussion of an Italian family about a future formal occasion (a party) in a foreign country (Austria), with foreign participants, in which they shall produce a typically Italian meal. The analysis shows how cultural descriptions are both a resource and a constraint when they must orient a practical activity which must be publicly acknowledged for its cultural typicality. Discrepancies are highlighted between cultural descriptions and ordinary practices, but it is also shown how culture (or 'cultural preferences') gets produced, at a less explicit level, within discursive practices, through turn-taking filtering, sequential architecture and selection of differentiated addressees. The socializing import of the discursive situation for the younger participants is also discussed, with reference to the relevant conversational devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-335
Number of pages23
JournalCulture and Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1999


  • Conversation analysis
  • Cultural differences
  • Gender
  • Reflexivity
  • Socialization
  • Typicality


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